Charity fights on over hotel

Plans to convert the former hotel were turned down.
Plans to convert the former hotel were turned down.

A decision to throw out plans to turn a former Motherwell hotel into a centre for people with addictions and other problems is being challenged.

Charity Betel UK is appealing against North Lanarkshire Council’s refusal of planning permission.

In June councillors unanimously rejected the proposal for the Old Mill near Braidhurst Street.

It followed a campaign of local opposition which resulted in 433 people signing petitions.

Objectors said they didn’t want a drugs and alcohol rehabilitation centre “right in the middle of our close knit community”.

Betel says it helps turn lives around by offering training in skills such as landscape gardening and furniture restoration, and provides a drugs and alcohol-free environment.

David Murphy, who had planned to run the Motherwell centre, told the committee he was a heroin addict who now wants to give something back.

It was proposed to offer accommodation for up to 26 people, including staff.

Adrian Smith, Mr Murphy’s agent, said: “We are trying to help people with challenging life circumstances. All communities have people who suffer problems. Everything we can do to help address these has to be welcomed.”

Elaine Morris, who led objections to the plan, said she has written to the Scottish Government, which is handling Betel’s appeal, to re-affirm her opposition.